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Guide to open Swiss Bank Accounts for non residents



Switzerland Bank groups

  Offshore Bank accounts

Variety within the Swiss banking system
Apart from numerous other qualities, the Swiss banking system is noted for its variety. The Swiss banking system is based on the concept of universal banking, whereby all banks can offer all banking services. Nevertheless, it has seen the development of different bank groups that have come to specialize in certain areas.

The Swiss universal bank offers it all

The Swiss banking system is based on the model of universal banking. This means that all banks can provide all banking services, such as:

•credit/lending business
•asset management and investment advice
•payment transactions
•deposit business (savings accounts, etc.)
•securities business (stock exchange transactions)
•underwriting business (issuing of bonds)
•financial analysis
This is directly opposite of banking systems in English-speaking countries and in Japan which separate commercial banking from investment banking. Legislation is, in fact, currently underway in the United States to liberalize the system.
The advantages of universal banking include the ability to spread risk over a greater number of banking businesses and customers from all sectors of the economy.


Specialized bank groups
Banking in Switzerland is extremely diverse, even though it is based on the principle of universal banking. Several bank groups are now fully or partially specialized:

The "big" banks
The two "big" banks - UBS AG and the Credit Suisse Group - together account for over 50% of the balance sheet total of all banks in Switzerland. UBS AG is the world's leader in wealth management and also Switzerland's leading bank for individual and corporate clients. It is also an important global player in investment banking and the securities business. Credit Suisse is a leading global bank headquartered in Zurich. Credit Suisse is renowned for providing expert advice, holistic solutions and innovative products to a wide range of corporate and institutional clients and high-net-worth individuals globally, as well as retail clients in Switzerland.

Cantonal banks
Formerly one to two per canton, there are today a total of 24 Cantonal banks (in Switzerland's 26 cantons and half-cantons); Cantonal banks are semi-governmental organizations with a state guarantee. Liberalization is currently underway with respect to the state guarantee. Despite their close connection to the state, cantonal banks must comply with commercial principles in their business activities. Their objective, according to cantonal law, is to promote the canton's economy. Field of activity: engaged in all banking businesses; emphasis on lending/deposit business.

Regional banks and savings banks
Smaller universal banks with an emphasis on lending/deposit business. These banks voluntarily restrict their activities to one region. Advantage: customer proximity -- they are acquainted with local circumstances and with regional business cycles.

Raiffeisen Group
As a group of banks with the largest branch network in Switzerland, the Raiffeisen banks together form Raiffeisen Switzerland, which is responsible for the entire Raiffeisen Group strategy and for group-wide risk management. It also coordinates the group’s activities, creates the conditions for the business activities of the local Raiffeisen banks and advises and supports them in all issues. The bank group, which is structured as a cooperative, is one of Switzerland’s leading retail banks. In recent years, Raiffeisen has positioned and established itself as the third largest bank group in Switzerland. Raiffeisen meanwhile counts 3 million Swiss citizens among its customers. Of these, some 1.4 million are members of the cooperative and hence co-owners of their Raiffeisen bank. They value the decisive benefits of Raiffeisen: Proximity to the customer, support, reliability and the exclusive benefits for members of the cooperative.

Private banks
Among the oldest banks in Switzerland. Legal form: individually owned firms, collective and limited partnerships. Private bankers are subject to unlimited subsidiary liability with their personal assets. Field of activity: asset management, chiefly for private clients; as a rule, private banks do not publicly offer to accept savings deposits.

Foreign banks
Foreign-control means that over half of the company's votes are held by foreigners with qualified interests. Origin of banks: Europe, predominantly EU (over 50%), Japan (around 20%). Fields of activity: foreign business (share of foreign assets in the balance sheet total is 70%), asset management.

Other banks
This bank group includes banks with various business objectives, such as: institutes specializing in the stock exchange, securities and asset management businesses; commercial banks: as a rule, these are universal banks for which mortgage investments play a significant role, in addition to commercial loans to trade, industry and commerce; and consumer credit institutes: institutes specializing in small loans (to private individuals and the industry).

Swiss Financial Center - Players

Swiss Bankers Association
The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) was founded in 1912 in Basel as a trade association and today has nearly 355 institutional members and approximately 16'800 individual members. The Association’s Office employs a staff of about 60. 11 commissions and associated working groups deal with key issues affecting the industry. Serving on these commissions are some 583 representatives of various banking groups as well as specialists from the SBA.

Swiss Banking Ombudsman
Any customer who has a dispute with his/her bank but does not want to go to court may contact the Swiss Banking Ombudsman. The ombudsman is a neutral and independent office for resolving customer disputes. Although it has no powers of arbitration, it mediates between the parties to the dispute. Thus, it can recommend and advise, but not prescribe, a particular solution. Nevertheless, the ombudsman successfully mediates in many cases.

SIX Group
SIX Group was formed at the start of 2008 by the merger of SWX Group, SIS Group and Telekurs Group. As an internationally active infrastructure company, it is a cornerstone of the Swiss financial sector. As one of Europe’s leading securities exchange and financial market infrastructure operators, SIX Group. offers first-rate services that address all aspects of Swiss and crossborder securities trading as well as the admission of securities to trading. The company’s other business fields focus on rendering cost-effective and efficient services in the areas of clearing, settlement, securities safekeeping and administration, as well as supplying international financial information for investment advisors, portfolio managers, financial analysts and administrators of securities transactions. In addition, its services in the area of payment transactions cover the acceptance and processing of payments made with credit, debit and customer cards, as well as the handling of interbank transfers and e-invoices.

Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority
The FINMA is responsible for the supervision of banks through statutory auditors. It grants new banks authorization to begin conducting business. In the event of a violation of law or other abuses, the FINMA can order appropriate corrective measures. If the case is serious enough, it can withdraw the bank's operating permit.

Swiss National Bank
The SNB is the central bank of the Swiss Confederation, and it runs the country's monetary policy independently. As lender of last resort, it bears some responsibility for ensuring that the Swiss economy has sufficient liquidity. However, unlike the Bank of England, for instance, it has no regulatory powers - banking supervision is the purview of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.

Financial intermediaries without bank status
In addition to the banks and their various bodies, the Swiss financial sector also plays host to financial intermediaries without bank status. These intermediaries, which are regulated by a special federal authority, include the management companies of Swiss investment funds (under the Investment Fund Act), life insurance companies (under the Insurance Supervision Act) and securities traders (under the Stock Exchange Act). A number of other financial intermediaries are only governed by the Money Laundering Act.
These include anyone who looks after other people's assets or helps to invest or transfer them, such as asset managers, brokers, bureaux de changes, lawyers, credit card companies etc.
Independent asset managers in particular form a large and important group. They are brought together in the Swiss Association of Asset Managers (SAAM) VSV. The total assets under management by SAAM members is estimated at CHF 100bn, which equates to 3% of the overall market. Independent asset managers maintain close relations with one or more banks, the banks being responsible for customers' accounts and custody accounts.


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Content of the Guide - Option 1 Swiss Savings Bank Account - Option 2 Swiss Trading Bank account - Option 3 Swiss Current Checking and Investment Bank account - Option 4 Swiss Bank account for Europeans - Other Options UBS Credit Suisse & Private Banks - Order form - Contact us - Money Safe Box - Guide to open UK bank account for non resident.

Guia de apertura de cuenta bancaria offshore - Contactarnos

More Information to get well acquaintance about Swiss Banking:

Banking in Switzerland - Frecuently Asked Question about Swiss Banking opening of account - Bank client confidentiality and Bank secrecy - Swiss Financial Center and Bank groups - List of Swiss Banks - A little country. A great financial centre

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